Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

December 14, 2011

My Beautiful Longleaf Pines

Life here in Florida can often be a somewhat mixed blessing.
While we do have spectacular wildlife to be seen at nearly every turn, the scary part is that their habitats and their lives are being annihilated just as quickly as humans and machines can do so.
Point is case, the ancient, critically endangered longleaf pines.
A hundred years ago, these trees were a canopy so deep that they covered nearly all of the lands of the American Southeast.
Today, they have just a last few bastions of hope here in Central Florida.
Each time that we pass a logging truck near our home in the Ocala Forest, usually with a Georgia license plate, loaded down with pine trees on their way to becoming chemically mixed pellets for heating, fireplaces and such, I wonder if the drivers knew which trees were the ones that were not supposed to be cut.
These priceless pine trees were also once the only home of some very endangered birds, like the red cockaded woodpecker, the ivory billed woodpecker and others, who chose this particular tree for the specific needs it provided for them.
And, with each tree that falls, goes another creature who will eventually become homeless.
It is not like there are no other trees to cut down because there are so many.
These once proud sentinels of our past, must be allowed to survive, because when they are all gone, like the Ghost Bird, or Ivory Billed Woodpecker, will it matter that we could have and should have made other, smarter choices?
We cannot continue in this blind, mindless rampage on our environment.
In the end we will all lose.

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